4 tips for finding work that will still be here in 10 years’ time

And after Toyota we have ?

The time has come when management is making one its momentus periodic shifts in thought.  The textbooks might take a little time to catch up.  Most university textbooks don’t do Toyota yet.  And after all, as we all know, Toyota is passed its zenith.  But as ever, the world moves on, and we learn from engine-makers and manufacturers.

This time it is Chinese motorcycles. How do they make them quite so cheap?

Chinese process networks & local modularization

I have been looking for good references to understand the phenonmenon of “local modularization”.   At last, I have found a good paper the motor cycle industry in Chongqing where this practice emerged. It is a pdf document presented at Davos 2006 by Hagel & Brown who are now part of Deloittes.

Working tips for finding work that will still be here in 10 years’ time

As ever, I’ve made a working checklist for my own good.  I imagine it might have been superceded by know, though. 3 years is a long time in today’s management practice.

Think supply chain not assembly line

The key to this thinking is ‘supply chain’ not the assembly line.  Now there are specialized master’s degrees in supply chain & logistics.  It is a serious business.  I have a very amateur take of what we can learn generally about where business is going but this is what I make of it.

#1  Pull vs push

Look for networks where people are asking you to do things.  Avoid networks and people are trying to ‘push’ services and products (spam you in other words).  You are looking for networks that are based on people putting up their hands and calling “I need  .  .”  You can go back to them saying “I can do X at this price.” Then neither you nor them have to say “Please buy . . .” and waste time and money on marketing. I haven’t seen any writing, other than a reference that I’ve listed below, on how networks make the change from push to pull.  Please tell me if you have!

#2  Change the game to give you and your partner permanent competitive advantage

Outsource strategically rather than tactically.  That is, form an alliance that changes the game.  Don’t just buy in finished goods.  A strategic alliance

  • Shares the goal setting with the outsourcing partner.
  • Expands the pie.
  • Deepens capability (and know how)
  • Is a long term relationship.

When you are calling for assistance, begin with the long term relationship.  Have a discussion about your long term goal.  The British aerospace industry have a cracking questionnaire on the questions to ask.  It’s worth a look.

#3  Talk long term but go with whomever delivers

At the same time, be loosely coupled.  Don’t try to specify the entire process or lock people in.  It’s a scary thought at first but every person and every supplier is redundant.  That is the natue of pull systems. Utterly redundant.

This feature may seem sem to contradict the second point and this is how the contradiction is resolved.  A long term relationship comes from discussing the long term goal.  In the past, one person specified the goal and others had to fall in in lockstep.  Now long term goals are jointly agreed but if a partner doesn’t deliver, the network simply closes over, just like the internet, and moves on.  The ‘self-healing’ of networks, ruthless as it is, is the biggest guarantee of quality (and also a worry for people who study exploitation).

#4  Go for good company rather than total dominance

Choose networks where you are one specialist link in a network rather than a dominant player.  You don’t need to dominate the network; you need a good network.  And good networks are full of people at the top of their game where the network, not just the members, gets better every day.

The British aerospace industy even have a programme to switch the whole industry over to strategically thought out relationships which though not quite pull, go in that direction.  I can imagine this point worrying people.  Certainly I would like to see work on how we protect ourselves from people who do try to dominate the network.

Moving from old styles of business to new

Hagel and Brown also gave me this checklist for managing our futures strategically.  It might be sufficient to answer my two unanswered questions.  How do we make the shift and how do we protect ourselves from ‘powerful pirates’?

  1. Where can we see the future?  Where shall we post lookouts?
  2. Where can we do things differently with other people?  Where can we work on innovative solutions?
  3. Where can we push the limits of organizational practice?
  4. Where is the “edge” or “boundary” that meets the outside world and informs the core?
  5. What sustains relationships?
  6. Where are we getting better and getting better faster?
  7. Which industries are unbundling and what is the patten?  In 2006, Hagel & Brown forsaw businesses unbundling into  infrastructure management, product innovation & commercialization, and customer relations.

I need to explore Hagel and Brown’s work more, on their own site and Deloitte’s. These lists are pretty rough but hopefully you’ll find these two lists useful in some way.  Comments?

The most important choice in your life: Are you big enough to step into your own dreams?

What do you really want to do in life?

Whenever you go near a positive career coach, they are going to ask you what you really want to do in life.

Guess what?

You are going to list excuses. Because if you were off following your dreams, you wouldn’t be talking to a career coach!!

Are you normally a wuss given to excuse making?

Probably not.  If you were, you wouldn’t be spending good money on a career coach.  And we will charge you a lot, just to make sure you are not!

What is holding you up?

So you paid your money, and you know you are up some sort of psychological cul-de-sac and you are making excuses.  What the **** is going on?

For a start, you are behaving normally.

We all have moments when we wake up and are confused about our purpose in life. Typically, this happens when we have been intensely busy.  While we had our heads down attending to detail, we took our eye off the bigger picture.

We are also shy.

It is normal to keep our dreams a little hidden, even from ourselves. We fear success. We are terrified of getting what we want because at that point, we are exposed.  What if it turns out to be a disappointment?  What if we won’t be who we thought we would be?

Making the most important choice in your life

When you go to see a career coach, that is the choice you are making.  You want to know whether you are big enough to step into your own dreams.

Well you won’t know until you try!

Here are five know facts about positive careers that I have rewritten from another blog.  It is a good example of positive career coaching.

#1 You won’t find what you love until you take the time to imagine it and draw it in exacting detail

#2 You won’t move forward until you can name and imagine your fears in excrutiating detail

#3 You’ll become purposefully efficient when you work on actions that move you forward and decisively put aside actions that don’t move you in the direction you value so deeply

#4 You plan will appear not to work until you move toward your destination which puts all other destinations aside

#5 You will get discouraged from time to time and when you do, you have two choices. If you are involved in an activity that does not take you forward, put it in your waste bin with relish and move on to something that does!  If the activity has proved to be an obstacle that you must move through and over to reach your destination, get on with it!

Writing the perfect job description is  #1.

  • Take your job description and rewrite it to match your dream job.  Put in your job title.   Write down who you report to and who reports to you.  Do the whole shooting match.
  • Now review your daily activities and remove what does not take you towards your dream (if you can).  Leave what takes your forward and what you do for love and fun.
  • Get moving!
  • Now do #2.  Imagine your fears in excruciating detail.  Imagine the villain to your hero as sympathetically as you imagine yourself. Let the story of you life unfold!
  • And when you are discouraged, take a walk in the park, get over the immediate emotional shock, then decide.  Where does this setback fit in to your journey?  Is it an obstacle that you will enjoy conquering on the way to your perfect job?  Or is this just trash to be put aside and ignored?

Get writing that job description!

Until you have it in technicolor glory, then you will be stuck at your crossroads wondering whether you are your boss is writing the story of your life?  That is the choice you are making.

Do you have what it takes to conquer your fear of being successful?

Do you hate your job? Can we swap!

Hating our jobs .  .  . let’s do some extreme living!

You are in good company, aren’t you? Most of us hate our jobs. And it would be cool to have a job exchange.

I have another idea though. I found it on a list of unusual things to do before you die. It’s a kind of “extreme living”. The idea is this : very deliberately find a job that you hate, and do it. There!

Now why would we do that? Why deliberately find and do a job that we hate!

Because we can. Be. . . cause . . . we . . . can.

No, don’t walk away. Of course it is daft to do something unpleasant.

It’s enough trouble escaping what we hate. Why do more?

Because . . . well, you know what I am going to say. Because – we – can.

You dread your job because you are not in control and you think you will never be in control.

There are lots of times in you life that you are not in control.

But you can practice being in situations when you are not in control.

  • When I was a graduate student, I very deliberately went to movies on my own. Other people went in groups. It looked odd for a young person to go on their own. So I did. Until I stopped being uncomfortable.
  • A bit older, I spent three months traveling from city to city in Europe very deliberately arriving at midnight with no accommodation. Until I stopped being scared of finding myself with no where safe, dry and warm to sleep. Or rather until I learned how to find somewhere to sleep no matte where I am. You can imagine I traveled a lot more extensively because of the self-designed training course that I gave myself aged 25.
  • A bit older, I decided to overcome my fear of speaking in public by presenting a public talk every month for a year. I did. Many times, hardly anyone came. But I wrote a new paper (a proper academic paper) and presented it.  For 12 months in a row! I learned the art of getting on with it! And I stopped wasting time on anxiety.

So get over you dread of jobs you hate by deliberately taking a job that you hate!

Bet you learn a lot. Bet you come out the end knowing you can survive any job.

And there are many other things better faced head on.

Part of life is dealing with the dross.  There is no better way than giving yourself a crash course.

Do it over and over again until you are good at it!

 

P.S.  Great way to apply for a job. “I am applying for a job because I expect I will hate it  .  .  .”  That made you smile.

Do we pay enough attn to world politics in local career planning?

Daft question?  I hope not

Today, I whizzed over my Acorn feed.  I recommend it to you. It is always well written – up there in the top class with the Spectator and The Economist.

It is erudite and informed, topical and up-to-date.

Acorn discusses political economy and international relations through India’s eyes. I find it so useful.  Somebody is asking thoughtful questions about the world in a systematic way.

It is particularly useful to understand the conflict in Afghanistan. I also read it to understand the race for Africa’s resources. You will find expertise on topics that interest you, I am sure.

The importance of a professional diplomatic service

Today, Acorn argued that a country must systematically map out the power relationships in the world, and that failure to do so, will lead to loss of world status. I couldn’t agree more. I doubt we can be any stronger than the combined abilities of our diplomatic service.

Foreign affairs and career planning

But surely each and every one of us should be consciously mapping world relations too?

Why, dear fellow career professionals, do we not check that our clients understand the world economy and international relations?

I know they are fretful about the decisions they need to make now. But unless they get into the habit of understanding the vested interests in the world, aren’t they going to continue ‘lurching from church to school’?

We need simple visual renditions and we need to be informed ourselves

I would like to spend more time gathering simple information together so that people can see their goals in relation to other people’s goals, and to see it all unfold in real time.

Work & organizational psychology in the 21st century

I suspect that the main practical contribution by work psychologists in the turbulent economy of the 21st century will be to provide dynamic feedback to help people position themselves relative to the others.

So good on the Acorn. I recommend it for your own edification.

If you are interested in slurping data and presenting it on the net to help people understand where they are in relation to the world, please give me a nudge.

Is this today’s career choice- invest in crowd sourcing OR in expert filters?

Absolute Radio launched its online radio last night. It runs under the name Dabbl from 7pm to 6am.  We nominate the tracks that they should play, and the most popular tracks win.

Dabbl as a lens on social media

A critical unresolved issue in social media is whether crowd sourcing can replace expertise.

Are our votes better than the opinions of expert DJ’s on Radio 6, for example?

I think, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding. We will have to see, in other words.

  • Do we take part?
  • Are the averages of our opinions as good as the expert knowledge of DJ’s?

Dabbl : an experiment we should all copy

Whatever the outcome – Dabbl are running a good experiment that every honest industry should finance and run.

  • How good is the filter made up by our average opinions?
  • With this baseline, experts can ask themselves a straight forward question.
    • Can we do better than the average opinion?
  • And if so how exactly do we do better?
    • How can we organize a service that is consistently better?
    • And how can we develop our service over time so that it continues to be better than average opinion?
    • In what way do our consumers think our service is better?
    • And who is so convinced by our superior performance that they are willing to fund it?

Welcome to the 21st century! I reckon Dabbl is beating the path to where we all will be soon.

What would be crowd-sourcing in your industry?

With Dabbl in front of me as a clear example, I am going to be thinking about this.  What would crowd-sourcing look like in psychology, management and consulting?

What would it mean to commit to a career in crowd-sourcing?

And what would it mean to commit to a career in an expert filter that competes with crowd-sourcing?

Is there a third choice?  And if so, what is it?

What will you be discussing with youngsters you coach?

  • Crowd-sourcing?
  • Expert filters that compete with crowd sourcing?

    UPDATE:  I think the third choice is to do both.  I think we should build platforms to crowdsource in our area and add the expertise on top.  Of course some might specialize in various aspects of the enterprise.   As a profession, I think crowdsourcing should be our basic foundation and there should be a seamless gradient to expert opinion.

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    What about your work is important, valuable and innovative?

    Day One at Xoozya (cont’d)

    “So what is my first goal”, I said to the HR Director.  “The amount of work on my desk is expanding exponentially and I’ve only been here a few hours.  I must find an avatar, explore the communication system, and map my skills set.”

    What are your priorities?  I know you will say get settled, but all employers say that, and they don’t mean it.  What do you want done by when?”

    Kick the habit of looking to managers for goals

    “Well, Goal One” Peter said, “is to kick the habit of looking to managers for goals.  We are not here to set goals. We provide an arena or framework for you to work, alone if you like and with other people if you wish.  We are a huge company and you can work with whomever you choose and with whomever chooses to work with you.”

    Acknowledge your own judgment

    “That’s stressful at first because it feels as if you have no boundaries.  And to feel oriented, we all need boundaries.”

    “But you do have boundaries.  You’ve made choices all your life.  You’ve attended to some things and ignored others.  In your judg                    ment, some things are important and command your attention.”

    “We will ask you to do a third task.  We will leaving your avatar to the end of the month.  In addition to exploring the communication system and thinking about your skill set, you have a third task, which is this.

    What it important, valuable and innovative about your current project?

    “Write down what you are working on now.  And then tell me

    • Why this project is important to you
    • Why you think is is valuable
    • Why you think it is innovative.

    Why do you feel vital and alive when you are working on this project and why do you believe it adds vitality and quality to the way we live?”

    “Let me give you an example.

    Today, a young post-graduate in Sydney, Marsha Gittens,  published a post in Brazen Careerist on what she wants from work– her career must-haves.  She wants money, good leadership, perks, etc.  We all want the same things but right now the financial benefits of the corporate world are uppermost in her mind because she is making the change from being a student, with all that entails, to being a member of the corporate world, and all that entails.

    But financial rewards are not her project.  The move from the student world to the corporate world is her project and we are all better off if we acknowledge that openly.  She will spend the next year or two finding out where she fits into the corporate world and she wants to know how roles are structured, what these roles involve, and how important they are to other people.  At the end of the year she will have done well if she has gained this knowledge that she does not have now.  Much of this knowledge can only be gained from the inside.  From being in a company. From working on a team.  From doing a job and getting her hands dirty.

    “So she will not move as a spectator.  She moves as a player and she is looking for assignments that will give her the combination of overall understanding and hands-on experience consistent with her skills.

    “You sought membership of Xoozya for reasons you told us when we recruited you, and for reasons you’ll have kept to yourself.  Whatever has been put on the table, at this juncture in your life, there is something you want to achieve and you believe that we are the tool for you to achieve it.  There are resources you expect to find here and that you will look for.

    The young Australian post-graduate wants to find her toe hole in the corporate world.  To do that she needs to understand the corporate world.”

    “You are mid-career and you want . .  . what?  Describe what you came here to achieve.  What are you working on and why did you believe that we have the resources you need.”

    “What we suggest you do is write down your current project and answer those three questions.

    • What about the project is important to you?
    • Why do you believe it is valuable?
    • What about the project is truly innovative?  Why is it so important to be doing this work now and what about it is so special that it cannot be ignored?

    Then we’ll talk again.  How about this time next Friday?”

    And if you are enjoying this series, please do feel free to join in!

    • Leave your thoughts in the comment section
    • Grab the RSS feeds for posts and comments top right
    • If you comment on this post from your blog, please link back to this post from the words Jo Jordan, flowingmotion, or Xoozya
    • Tweet the post
    • Stumble the post

    And PS, if you are new to this blog, Xoozya is an utterly fictitious organization. This series began on the spur of the moment as I started to explored the principles of games design and Ned Lawrence of Church of Ned mentioned how much time people put into designing their avatars, or online identities. Xoozya is an attempt to imagine what an organization would look, sound and feel like if it were run along lines recommended by contemporary management theorists.

    And PPS Ned is an online writing coach and is available for hire.

    4 fold plan to map your own future

    Botrychium lunaria
    Image via Wikipedia

    Take charge of your life, please!

    I’ve just watched a Reuters slide show of people looking for work in the States, China and Japan.  Sometimes we have to look for work!

    But to do it without having a larger plan is the most frightening and desperate thing we can ever do.

    It is a mistake to define our life by the opportunities created by other people.  It would depress me.  It would depress anyone.  It will depress you.  It is such a bad idea.

    Finding a job is like traveling abroad

    A young friend of mine described choosing a career direction as being in a foreign country and asking people for directions.

    Have you ever noticed that the locals in a foreign country don’t know where anything is?  It’s not surprising really.  They go to the same places every day.  They don’t know what is useful to a visitor or newcomer.

    My young friend has made the gustiest decision he will ever have to make.  He has decided not to rush it.  He’s continuing with his student job while he works out what he really wants to do.

    What I’ve suggested to him is that he pretends he is an adventurer in an uncharted place and draw the map as he goes.   So to extend the metaphor,  when he sees a mountain, put it down roughly.  When he sees a lake, add that to his picture.  And so on.

    He’s contributed a pretty nifty metaphor that completes the other three I wrote about this week.  This is how they work together.

    1  Define your core value (five minutes)

    • Scan a list of flowers and their symbolic meaning to capture your sense of the value you deliver.
    • I found btw that I want a red carnation for me (meaning I carry a torch for you) and lunaria for my company (meaning prosperity).  I don’t mean I just want my company to be prosperous.  I want that, of course.  I mean that the job of my company is to deliver prosperity to other people.
    • Which flower captures the value you deliver?

    2  Resolve to do well by doing good (relax)

    • Be like my neighborhood restaurant in Olney.  Do what you think is right and do it for free.
    • Don’t be so focused that you only think of getting a job or how much money you can make out of other people.
    • Let people help you.  And you will find that people do.
    • People want to applaud you success.  Let them have have the pleasure!

    3  Each day find 1 signpost and 1 person who is closer to where you want to be than you are now

    (1 hour searching and 10 minutes recording)

    • Do a daily exercise finding a website representing activities that take you one step further and make contact with one more person who is closer to where you want to go than you are now.
    • Do this daily, and don’t break the chain!  Then add a rough diary of what you did during the day and WHY IT WENT SO WELL!
    • You’ll have 30 websites and people at the end of the month.  In month 2, each day also discard a website and person each as you find another pair.  (Or put them in another box.)
    • In this way, you’ll edge towards the place you want to be.
    • I don’t know how long it will take, but you’ll be surprised at how fast it goes.  My guess is 3 months.  You tell me when you’ve tried.

    4  Draw your map (7 minutes)

    • And each day add to your map.
    • What is the landscape of your field and its future as you see it?
    • Keep adding features as you go.
    • And whatever you do, don’t try too hard.  Your map might mutate into a map of the underground or something like that.  Just don’t jump to defining answers.  Doodle!  We want your creative juices flowing freely.

    Who should do this?

    The recession is so severe, everyone should be doing this.  If you are in a good place right now and it looks secure, then sure, do it intermittently.  Jot down websites and people intermittently and review the box once a month.

    For everyone else, I would say this exercise has fairly high priority.  The bankers say they didn’t know what they were doing.  The government says it is uncharted waters – meaning, they have no map.

    We are all in a strange place asking the locals for directions.  Best to start drawing the map!

    And don’t aim to come out with a job that is defined by others.  Define your own future.  Let other people stand in your queue!

    Is this possible?

    Of course it is.  How do jobs get made?  They get made by people like me and you.  But you know, they followed their dreams.

    Will we always be an employer?  No.  Sometimes we will choose to work for others because hitching a ride on their wagon, so to speak, makes sense.

    But we don’t want to feel desperate.  If that is what you feel.  Do this exercise.  You will feel better very rapidly, I promise.

    If you are not feeling desperate, begin now and gather around you the people you need on your journey.  They will be grateful.  They want company too.

    Talk to me!

    And let me know how you get on.  I like company too.

    Thanks to my young friend who helped me finish this series.  I appreciate his help – again.  Actually we are friends, despite the difference in our years, because he has helped me before.  As now, he didn’t set out to do anything in particular.  But he added value to my life.

    That’s how it works, isn’t it?  We journey part of the way with other people and we help carve out a future together that we believe is worth having.

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    Tip 3: find your future now not after the recession

    Male and female ostriches "dancing".
    Image via Wikipedia

    Don’t ask who will be employed now

    Today I commented on Jon Ingram‘s post about the way HR managers are responding to the recession and remarked that we should not be like the proverbial ostrich – head in the HR sand, butt in the breeze, where it is likely to be shot off!

    Ostriches can run really fast (I’ve ridden one). A kick from them will also de-gut you as effectively as a kick from a giraffe.

    So why don’t they run or attack, which they sometimes do?

    Well, partly, they are none to bright (easily dazzled and then captured by reflecting the sun off your watch into their eyes).

    But they are hoping that if they are quiet, that they will be safe.

    So I am not going to be quiet.  It does not make me safe.

    But I’ll also be kind, and tell you why I am blathering on about the wild animals of southern Africa.

    Is the knowledge I acquired in southern Africa of use here?  Well, some is and some isn’t.

    The point is that the competencies of yesterday are not necessarily valuable tomorrow.

    We must distinguish what of yesterday we can take forward to the future.

    We can respect the rest.  We can reminisce about it. But some belongs to the past and will not contribute to the business models of tomorrow.

    Don’t bury your head in employment sand!

    The questions we have to ask, and should ask each year in our strategy review are:

    • What competencies is this business or my career based?
    • How are these going to change? Incrementally, or suddenly and discontinuously requiring radical back-to-school training?

    And in a bad downturn, we should also ask:

    • Can I use the slow time of the downturn to re-train and get some early experience in these new technologies?

    Strategies for employers and employees

    Employers should be actively building their team around the technologies of tomorrow.

    Employees who have switched-off employers should be networking hard to find and build the team that is coalescing around the markets and technologies of the future.

    Ask who will be employed in the future?

    Here is a simple procedure

    1  Grab an old shoe box

    • For one month, on an A5 envelope, every day write down one url to the future of your field with some notes about why you think it is important.  Date it!
    • For one month, on an A6 envelope, write down the contact details of a person who seems to be heading towards the right future and the nature of your contact with them.  Date it!
    • On the back of some other suitable scrap, jot down a daily diary of “what were the main events of today and WHY DID IT GO SO WELL”.  Keep your rough-and-ready diary in the box.
    • Print out a calendar.  Mark off each day and “don’t break the chain”.  Get the creative thinking charged up and humming.

    2  At the end of the month, review and repeat

    • But this time discard one of the A5 and A6 envelopes as you add a new pair each day.
    • Keep the rough-and-ready diary going and remember to end by asking the question “WHY DID THE DAY GO SO WELL?”
    • And remember “don’t break the chain”.  Do this exercise daily however roughly.

    You’ll be in the future before me!

    Now, you’ll be in the future before me, so let me know how it goes. I’m particularly interested in how many months it takes you.  My guess is three at the outside.

    And when you’ve done this,  we’ll “make a plan” to come back to rescue the ostriches!  We’ll have a figured out a role for them by then.

    Right now, lets go out,  scout the future and be there when it happens!

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    The art of sailing in rough financial waters

    Yesterday, I was talking to a young man who apologized for his loss of confidence.  He has had the spectacular privilege of being shipwrecked not once, but twice, in the grand drama of the 2008 financial crisis in the UK.

    “Of course your confidence has been knocked”, I replied.  “But you’ve lost confidence in the world rather than yourself.  You just don’t get that yet.”

    The earth is moving under our feet and I am seasick

    The first time I went on a cross-Channel ferry,  I found myself suddenly feeling immensely ill, almost as if I had woken up in the middle of the night with food poisoning.  I was wide awake though.  I sat down abruptly, quite alarmed by the sensation of being critically ill.  Fortunately, my companions were experienced sailors and they realized the cause of my distress.  “We’re moving”, they said, very gently.  I would have worked it out eventually, but their kind words saved me from several minutes of worrying and the magnification of my physical discomfort.

    I still get seasick, though I pride myself on my ability to puke neatly, to lie down quietly, and to take the discomfort without disturbing the rest of the party.  Yachting in the Caribbean last year, I resolved this has simply got to stop.  If I want to go on boats, and enjoy swimming in a warm sea, I have to learn to cope with ‘the earth moving under my feet’.

    The unknown and the unknowable

    I would rather not be made redundant of course,  and I would rather this had not happened to my young friend and many of his friends.  But it will happen. To many of us.

    We have no way of knowing how long the recession will last.  This recession fits into the category of unknowable rather than unknown.  I learn all about it that I can.  I am collecting good explanations on the page Financial Crisis Visually.

    But it is not knowable. Not even the experts know what is happening, or how long it will last.

    So how do I cope with this ‘unknowableness’ and the equivalent feeling of being very seasick?

    I need to plan for the very short term and keep lots in reserve.

    • What can I get done right now, today?
    • What are the wide range of choices of things I might do tomorrow?

    If I can keep those two in balance, I’ll do OK.

    A practical plan

    Practically-speaking:

    • I need to spend some time every evening going over what I achieved each day, and adding it to my resume.
    • I need to be on top of my finances, to the last penny, and know exactly what I’ve spent and what I owe.  I also need to collect what is owing to me, promptly.
    • Then I need to list all my opportunities in a file or a loose leaf binder.
    • My fourth evening task is to pick out what I must do and will finish on the morrow.   I want achievements in-hand and on my resume.
    • Lastly, I leave plenty of time for the unusual and the unexpected.  About 80%.  That’s what’s needed in uncertain times.

    It’s OK for me

    Yes, I know. When we are facing a crisis, all of this feels like busy work. We just want it done.  We want it over.  Look at my posts from yesterday and last week.  I was in a blue funk myself.

    But if you are in a ship wreck, the last thing you do is start swimming madly hoping to chance on another boat.  You must get clear of the boat that is sinking, but it’s best to get in a lifeboat with as much food, water and safety equipment that you can.

    You can bring the sense of panic, or sea-sickness, down by sitting down every evening and doing the exercise I listed.

    And if you miss a night, don’t beat yourself up. This is not a religious ritual.  It is a process which helps you get the results you want.   Get back to it the next day.

    And let’s do it together

    Let me know how to improve the advice.  When all is said and done, we are in the same boat, on stormy seas.

    Plan for the near term, finish today what can be done today, put it on your resume, and keep lots in reserve.

    See you on the beach!

    UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.

    Another appreciative inquiry mini-case study

    Be careful of citing companies who do well by doing good!

    Death and taxes are certain in this world.  So is the likelihood that any company you quote as doing good will make the headlines in the morning.  I’ve taught for years, and this rule never fails me!

    Wal-Mart at its best

    So taking my reputation in my hands, I am delighted to pass on another little appreciative inquiry nugget that I spotted in the Management Education briefing circulated by The Economist.

    Wal-Mart, the big shop that people love to hate (I’ve never been in one, have you?) did respond well after Hurricane Katrina.  They suprised themselves, as well as their detractors,  and supposedly sparked an ephiphany moment for CEO, Lee Scott.

    “What would it take for Wal-Mart to be that company, at our best, all the time?”

    Wal-Mart as an example of appreciative inquiry

    This simple sentence is typical of appreciative inquiry.  We identify the high point and work out the processes that led us there.  Frequently, we find solutions to a range of problems that we previously thought intractable.

    Appreciative inquiry & me

    And I ask myself: what will it take for me to be that person, at my best, all the time?

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